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    New poll shows most Russians distrust election system

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    MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - A new poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation found that 55% of respondents think election results in Russia do not reflect the opinion of the people and only 31% think elections are honest, the daily Vremya Novostei reported.

    The poll also found that 51% are convinced that the 2007 parliamentary election will not be honest and 44% say the same about the 2008 presidential election. Only 23% and 41%, respectively, think that the votes will be counted correctly.

    "The people distrust the institutes of power, with the exception of the president," said Iosif Diskin, co-chairman of the National Strategy Council.

    Despite this, 64% plan to turn out for the 2007 Duma elections and 73% said they vote in the 2008 presidential elections.

    "The public still thinks that it can influence the authorities, still hopes that something can change," said Ivan Klimov, a leading FOM researcher. "On the other hand, elections have become routine, like shopping. We usually go to the nearest shop, even if its range of commodities is insufficient and prices are not optimal."

    Of those polled, 42% are convinced that distortion of election results could catalyze mass protests, but 39% do not think this is possible. Political scientist Diskin is convinced that the poll revealed a potential 5%-6% of the people who might walk out if distortions would radically change voting results.

    Klimov believes that only 1%-4% take part in protest actions in Russia. "It is a fact that there are protest sentiments in society," he said. "Yet people do not want revolutionary change, they understand that revolutions slow down the development of the state." Protest sentiments are a good mechanism of social integration, he said.

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